Rock Your Next Talk By Answering 5 "Essential" ?s

Convocation speakers can rarely resist the temptation to dispense advice to the gowned graduates in front of them. But, every once in a while, the ideas they share strike a chord with the world at large. Take the example of James Ryan, Dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He urged his listeners to stop and ask themselves five "essential" questions. The answers, he promised, would help them achieve success and fulfillment in life. Then, communications blogger Garr Reynolds wrote about Ryan's thought provoking questions, bringing them to a wider audience. Reading the article on Reynold's blog Presentation Zen, it occurred to me that answering the questions could also make a speech or presentation successful and fulfilling to the audience.

Here are the questions and some suggestions about how to apply them to a talk. Read More...

Think "Proud & Productive" When Writing & Delivering Employee Recognition Speeches

Summer may be a quiet time in many workplaces, but it’s also a time of great transition. People wrap up projects before they head off on vacation. Some leave to take on new assignments. Others retire. So it’s no surprise that managers and supervisors often find themselves on the hook to write and deliver employee recognition speeches. How well they do depends on the approach they take.

A tempting path is to string together some “nice” things to say about the person and leave it at that. But, with a bit of thought and planning, a speech to honour an employee can be a more meaningful experience for both the honouree and the audience.

The place to start is by looking at the occasion as an opportunity to reinforce employee engagement. Read More...

3 Presentation Tips From The Dragons' Den

“Hello Dragons.”  Does that opening line sound familiar?  If you’ve watched the CBC television show Dragons’ Den over the past 10 seasons you’ve heard countless inventors, entrepreneurs and dreamers utter those words. What comes next is the pitch each of them hopes will convince at least one Dragon to invest in their idea or product. But, as many discover, getting a deal is far from easy. The Dragons are tough to impress. They’ve all built enterprises from scratch and they know what it takes to succeed. Tracie Tighe, who has been the show’s executive producer since the start, says the people who make it on air get advice on how to hone their pitches to appeal to the Dragons. But, once the cameras start rolling, what happens next is up to them.  Read More...

3 Attention-Getting Tips From Copywriters

One of the biggest challenges to communicating with people is getting and holding their attention. Speech givers have an especially tough time. They have to shape their content to connect with and engage listeners in the here and now. Otherwise, their message falls on deaf ears. Copywriters live and die by their ability to win attention through words. Here are three copywriting tips you can use to keep your audience with you. Read More...